Friday, December 26, 2014

The season of miracles

Merry Christmas, happy new year, happy holidays! Yes, the holidays are officially over for me. We prepared. We baked. We cooked. We gathered. And now....we rest....sort of.....not really.

This Christmas was quite special as we gathered together and enjoyed each others' company. With the new (and naughty) pups, we spent some time together just hanging out with extended family and friends. Last night, we went to Dr. G's house for Christmas celebration and were witness to lots of little miracles....such as....

Big M is still going strong. Given a devastating cancer diagnosis, he has battled like no one I have ever seen. As he continues to battle, we are blessed to have him in our lives. Big M is the epitome of what it means to be a survivor. He never gave up and continues to impress us with his grit and determination....He is truly a strong man. On Tuesday night, he was honored at his college alma mater during half time for his volunteerism and demonstration of loyalty. He was given the game ball.  he is my hero....

Another miracle was that BP Grandpop continues to defy the odds and is on his feet again...well, sort of. he is using a walker but has not let his healing hip stop him from accomplishing his goals and attending dinners and parties. After all, he is the party.....

The next miracle is BP Grandmom. She also defies the odds as she cares for and encourages Pop. I got to say, I am not sure that I would be on the sofa every night as she sleeps by dad's bed. She is a class act and never complains. No miracle there....just a woman who serves silently and sees the joy in each moment.

Another miracle that I am part of is that I have NOT looked at my work email for over a week. That's right. I can't. Won't. Refuse. Need to slow down and let the anxiety of work be carried away with the December winds.

And so, we are preparing to take the dogs south for a week. Why? Who knows. But if it works out without me jumping out of the plane without a parachute, then I will have witnessed yet another mirracle.

And with that....

I got to run.....Peace!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Cut from the A squad

Good evening! Yes, I said evening. I know that I never post after 10 am but I had to get off the first floor and away from the cookies and refrigerator. Yesterday was the 6th annual cookie fest along with soup fest 2. My cousins decided to add the soup fest, so it made sense to me. Therefore, we had thousands of cookies and 6 different soups, apps, and cakes....oh yes, some adult now, I have to make plans on how in the world I can get my weight watchers mentality back and stay away from the goodies.

Sure, I can toss them. But, that would be ridiculous. It would be like tossing out my puppy because he cannot figure out how to poo outside. In other words, my inability to stay away from the food is temporary. The pants will become tourniquets again and I will staple my mouth closed.

After spending a nice afternoon with Wildcat walking through an uncrowded mall, I sat on the sofa reading, relaxing, watching the fire, and letting the puppies run wild when I heard from the big lefty.
He was out with Hawk tossing the baseball at his elementary school when he saw his middle school baseball coach who immediately recognized him.

At that point they had a nice chat about the last several years of his life. He was  surprised to hear that he was playing D I baseball when the rest of his class mates fizzled out athletically in high school. While they chatted, the big guy thanked the coach for cutting him from the 8th grade basketball A team. He said that it made him focus on baseball since it seemed that his ambition to make it to the NBA was now over at the age of thirteen. That's right. A budding career derailed by the coach who could not see his ability to dribble and cross over in the lane.

He laughs about it today, but I remember the day that he was cut from the A squad like it was yesterday. Ready?

Fade to black.....

The school sponsored a late bus for after school activities, so I was not worried about picking him up after try outs. Instead, I met with a colleague at Starbucks to go over the tenure and promotion policy at the university. It seems that when my son was cut from the varsity, I was almost cut from the university since the administrator and I did not see eye to eye on my scholarship, so my colleague met with me to give me my options which did not include poisoning the administrator with a lethal chocolate caramel cookie (kidding.....although, this guy was not a nice man.....and I am not kidding about that). And so, we sat and chatted when I got a call from a crying kid who was sitting at the bus transfer point looking for me. He was inconsolable over the phone and I had to cut my conversation about job security short and run to find this sad boy.

I apologized to my colleague for having to leave as I ran out the door and zipped the car down the pike to find him. As I turned into the parking lot, there he was....sitting with his head down on the curb with his back pack on his back. He looked lost and incredibly upset. And so, it was another Lifesavers moment as I did my best to be therapeutic and help him to feel no avail....rats! It was time for dad to get involved since I had run out of mom things to say.....he was so upset, I pitied him.

And so, once he calmed down, he was placed on the B team with his friends and they went on to win every game except one. He was the big star on the team, but still bitter about the A team. With that said, in March, I threw a basketball birthday party for him in my university's gym for his B team. After I brought out a cake that said "We're number two" on it....and all was sort of well.

Now these memories are etched in my mind as something quite traumatic and he is telling the coach that he was glad that he was cut. OH MY GOODNESS!

Yes, I know that all things work together for good, but to go back to the guy after I spent years feeling bad for him, he is telling the coach that he was secretly happy about it.

My take on it? Yikes! That's it...yikes.....

More about his chat with the coach later. I have to return to the first floor to make dinner...which I don't need tonight....or any night for a week....


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Any minute

Hello~! I am sitting in Starbucks waiting for Tink to finish work. Why am I waiting? Long has something to do with Christmas, a boyfriend, presents, and a mother who cannot say 'no'. 'nuff said.

How is the big guy's homecoming? Well, he got home on Thursday and since then, I have seen him for a total of 9 minutes. He is elusive and either in his bedroom or out somewhere.....On my brief sighting, he looked tall, muscular, and hungry. Aside from that, nothing to report....except.....

I sent him to acupuncture yesterday with Mr. Zen. He felt better, but not 100%. Hey, it is not a miracle needle. Shifting energy takes time. Although we were laughing when he told me that he was 'spooned' by Mr. Zen. What is spoon? It seems that the spoon is ceramic and Mr. Z used to to move his energy around. Apparently, it, he is not a spoon fan. The crick in the neck is better as is the pinched nerve.

All he has to do is see Yoda on Tuesday and Dr. G later and he will have made his homecoming rounds.

On the way home from school, he had his second flat tire in less than a week. Can anyone say: "Wow! I got two radial tires for Christmas!! Oh boy!"

Yep, he got the tires and will probably get slippers or something cozy like that.

What the heck? Really? Two blown out tires in less than a week. What the UD^)E%$$^ is he doing with his wheels? His grandmother drove that Cadillac to church and back. It had new tires and was detailed before he left. Now he has more new tires and a stern warning that this had better be it. No more tires. He is going to walk or hitch hike if he blows any more tires out. He is lucky that he was not hurt.

what else is going on? Hmnmmm.....well, cookie fest VI and soup fest II are tomorrow afternoon. Dad and the big guy are leaving the state to avoid the party. It seems that thousands of cookies are not enough to keep them around the house. Whatever. More cookies for me....and me....and me....

Yesterday, I took BP Grandmom and Grandpop to the mall. First, I borrowed a wheel chair from work. was a good move, 'cause BP Grandpop is really slow with the rehab after his broken hip. I would still be waiting for him to make it across the parking lot if it wasn't for that chair. But let me tell ya, I had flashbacks as I wheeled him around the mall. It was not so long ago that I wheeled the kids in a double stroller. Now I wheel Grandpop, who will be more mobile soon.

It just seemed odd as I had the flashbacks of babies then Pop...then toddlers....then Pop...then little kids who ran away from me.....then Pop.....He helped me to pick out a gift for my godson. This kid is tough since he is 17. Yep, every 17 year old wants cash.....but I wanted to give him a gift too.

My godson is a quiet, incredibly handsome young man. He rarely talks. During the summer, I asked him when he got his braces off thinking that it was recent. His response was 'last year.' OK, look dude, you are going to have to speak and smile at me more so that I know what is going on with your teeth and life. Sheesh!

And so, I have to shut down because Tink will be here any minute.....any minute...any minute....


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Paging Mr. Zen!

Good morning! Yep! It's a good one! I am no longer sick AND I finished my last class last night at 10:30 pm for another two weeks....oh boy! After serious grading this morning, I am going to place a 'gone shopping' notice on my email!!!

Once again, the pups pulled me out of bed this morning at an ungodly hour, but hey...who cares? I have two weeks off....Sweeet!

How is the big guy? He finished exams yesterday. He shared that he earned an "A" in a class. Not sure which one, but this should get his name off the Wall of Shame that the Czar has in the locker room. Forgot what the Wall of Shame is? Well, it seems that to motivate his players academically, the Czar broke the federal law (FERPA...PA stands for "privacy act') and inscribed the guys with the lower grade point averages on the board in the locker room. The gpas have been there all semester. His name will be removed after he hits his target. Notice to the kid wants to see their name there. Not every guy is an A student. They do what they have to do to get by....after all, the team does not make it easy for them with 5 am lifts, meetings, three to four hour daily practices, and an extensive travel schedule. Some are able to keep their heads above a 2.0 to stay eligible for the season. It is an incredibly stressful environment.

He has had this knot in his back for a few weeks that the trainers have been massaging. He could no longer stand the discomfort and his hand was going numb, so he took my advice and went to an acupuncturist who was also a chiropractor. Rather than having the acupuncture, the chiropractor told him that his arm is too built up by training and he is losing flexibility in his elbow. Further, he diagnosed a pinched nerve and not a 'knot'. And we go again....

The medical care and training are sub par. The athletes are suffering and they will be cut from the team if they go to another doctor for a second opinion. They have them over a barrel.

What do I do as a parent? What does he do as a player? With the medical staff (once again) treating the wrong thing, does he continue to allow them to ruin his body OR does he sneak away and find his own, more competent doctors?

You know what I think...I hate the sneaking part but if they ruin his arm, they have succeeded in ruining his career and possible livelihood. This is unacceptable. I cannot go to them, because he is a young man and must fight his own battles, but I am seething that an elite division 1 school hires such inept practitioners. Here are  people who are supposed to stay up on the evidence and trends in sports medicine and training, yet they continue to use outdated modalities and insist that they are right.

To me, this means that they are not prepared to care for anyone including a puppy. (sorry twins). Any doctor or trainer who does not ascribe to best practice models supported by evidence and research is committing malpractice. Yes, I said malpractice.

A professional is a person who understands research, attends continuing education, and reads their journals. They look at statistics and change their practice based upon what has been purported to be effective. To be so rigid and narrow minded and not alter their practice indicates that the wrong people are in these positions of power.

And so, I made an appointment with my acupuncturist, Mr Zen for Friday. Mr Zen is the most amazing guy. He has helped my sinuses, elbow, and left knee. He took care of my stress on Monday as well as opened my nasal passages. Frankly, I would not have believed it if I had not had my experience, but I highly endorse acupuncture for most things that ail a person. Some of our physical problems are due to stress and anxiety. Mr. Zen was able to pinpoint my heightened anxiety by feeling my pulses (don't ask, but my pulses were located via my radial which is located on my wrist). After identifying stress as part of my problem, he placed a series of needles in my back and left me for 25 minutes. I almost fell asleep. Since my acupuncture and acupressure for the sinuses, I have been tired but somewhat relaxed and can breathe!.....In fact, I want to go back again and again and again....

Ooops...'nuf about me. I have to grade the papers in order to place the 'gone shopping' sign on my email.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Dog Whisperer needs to make a house call! Stat!

Good morning...or is it? I am definitely in a foul mood. Why? I am not sure if you are ready for this post, but here is comes....

As regular readers know, Tuesdays are my longest days and I do not get home until 11 pm. I am actually cool with this schedule since it frees me up during the spring to chase the big guy all over the country.

However, this morning, I was close to breaking....why?

As you know, I adopted the cutest puppies in the whole world. They are happy, playful, and fairly responsive to commands. Last night at two am, they were whining, which essentially means that they have to be taken out. Ok, out of bed....robe on over the grey flannel pajamas...blanket over the puppy is taken from crate...taken out into the rain.....success...back into the house...puppy number two...taken from the crate....out into the rain.....success....back into crate...back to bed....

Two hours later....whining and barking...really? Really? really?

lumberjack flannel robe on....blanket over the robe and grey flannel pajamas.....hmm...they were so good a few hours ago, I think that I will take them out together in the rain, chill, and middle of the night.

Question: What was I thinking?

Answer: I was not thinking because I was still asleep in the middle of the night as I took the puppies out together without a leash. As they got outdoors, they looked at each other and took off.....Really puppies? really? now? really?

And so, I took off to catch them with my blanket over my flannel robe and my ripped untied Sperrys on my feet. All I could think of was that there are skunks, foxes, and owls out there and the puppies are not yet 4 pounds. In fact, they are an appetizer.

Question: What does a person do?

Answer: RUN! And I did with my blanket and ripped shoes and the mud beginning to splash onto the bottom of my grey flannel pajamas. I could not yell for them, because I did not want to wake any neighbors, have them look outside, and throw a net over my head.

So, I ran....almost caught up with one.....slipped.....they ran more toward the front of the neighbors house....and did the unthinkable as I approached them....

They barked and barked and barked as I whispered to them:

"Stop! Come! Listen to me. $%#((%%32!!!!!"

Now my hidden fear was realized, people were looking  out at the tiny barking dogs and crazy woman covered with mud, drenched, and running after them in the rain.

Ok, the story ends well. I caught the girl first, then the boy. AS I ran back to the house, the mud on their paws came off onto my wet blanket.

I was furious....went back to back into an amazing dream about a beach....margarita......palm trees.....and then it happened.....

At 7 am, dad trying to be nice to me, took the pups out and they took off too. I could hear his shouts and ran to get my sweat pants. AS he walked into the house with the muddy pups, he could only say "Your children have behavioral issues."

And here is where I sit...typing about my most excellent adventure with the dogs in their crate and mud on my robe, blanket, and pajama legs.  The hair is sticking up. The face is contorted.

Have I made any tactical mistakes since I adopted the pups?

Oh yeah...many...but guess what?

In January, all fun comes to an end. I am going to contact some dog whisperer or a doggie drill Sargent and we are going to tackle this problem head on. There will be no lame Pet Smart dog training.

Nope, I am going to find the General Patton of the canine world. These pups are going to learn manners.

Now it is time to take the puppies out again and they will be leashed and attached to my sweat pants string.

And so you have life....cold, wet, dirty, and unpredictable.